Centrale des Awirs
La Centrale des Awirs was owned and operated by Electrabel, the Belgian electricity producer. The company was originally founded in 1905 as the “Société d’Électricité de l’Escaut (S.E.E.)”. The name Electrabel was only created in 1990 after the restructuring of Intercom, Ebes and Unerg.
The Centrale Des Awirs got established all the way back in the late 40s, just after the war. In this period the majority of industry was in ruins including many generating stations. This situation kick started a large project to built a series of brand new modern power stations all over Belgium. Des Awirs was part of this large project. When opened the station contained two coal powered steam turbines, both constructed by ACEC. The coal was brought in from the many coal mines located in the area. Turbines 3 and 4 were put into operation in 1963 and 1967 and the last one was added in 1973. After almost 50 years of service, units 1,2 and three were shut down, unit 4 was converted to biomass burning in 2005 (a world first) and unit 5 was kept operational until 2013.
Since 2005, the power station was the largest biomass power plant in Wallonia and each year it provided electricity for around 160,000 households. The power plant finally shut down in September 2020 and the demolition began nearly immediately afterwards and by April 2022 the powerstation was in a sorry state.